Book Review: The Eternal Smile by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim [Graphic Novel]

Friday, May 16, 2014
I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...

Title: The Eternal Smile
Author: Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim
Publication Date: originally published in 2009

Synopsis: "MEET DUNCAN. Charming and brave, he's the Princess's favorite - and he's on his way to winning the throne. But lately, the walls of reality in Duncan's kingdom are wearing a little thin...
MEET GRAN'PA GREENBAX. Nothing seems to satisfy this greedy old frog's longing for a pool full of gold - until, one day, a mysterious smile appears in the sky. Has his chance at happiness come at last.
MEET JANET. Her nine-to-five life takes a turn for the romantic when she learns in an email from a mysterious Nigerian prince that she has been chosen to liberate his family's vast fortune. All he needs is her banking information.
In three very different stories, master storytellers Gene Yang and Derek Kirk Kim pit fantasy against reality, for good or for ill. Subtle, surprising, and entirely entertaining, The Eternal Smile delves into our dreams, and the unexpected places they lead."

My thoughts: I know the blurb says that these are three very different stories, and in many ways they are, but they also have the binding theme of making you question things and really think about life a little bit more. And I loved that.
I have apparently recently become quite obsessed with First Second publishers and have been doing my best to get my hands on a few of their publications. I have already read Boxers and Saints by Gene Yang and found it fascinating, and then discovered that my library had this book, so of course I grabbed it.
I loved the messages in each story, the artwork (which changed from story to story) and the characters that Kim and Yang had created. My favourite story is a toss-up between Duncan's and Janet's.... Gran'pa Greenbax's story was quite bizarre and I just didn't find it as compelling as the other two.

I think the best way to review this book is to describe the feeling I got while reading it - fascinated, slightly confused, and amazed. And finally, when I had finished, thoughtful. I want to read more from both of these authors.

You would like this book if: you like graphic novels with awesome messages and slightly bizarre storylines; you feel like something that will give you a thoughtful pause.

Rating:  9/10

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